Math Activities

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Measurement - Dragonology Project

During the course of the year my students (ages six, seven, and eight) had developed an intense interest in the fanciful and playful book, Dragonology: The Complete Book of Dragons, and shared it often with each other in the morning and during project time. I decided to harness that interest by developing an extended lesson on measurement using the dragons described in the book. We initially measured and charted items of different scale, eventually leading to our own scale models of the dragons. Upon deciding how fast our dragons traveled (some at 300 mph others at 450 mph, 900 mph, and 6000 mph) we also determined how long it would take to travel from Eastport, Maine, to the Aleutian Islands of Alaska (5400 miles).


This unit was inspired by resources from TERC: Investigations in Number, Data, and Space. Beyond typical lessons in measurement and classification of polygons the students were encouraged to document their discoveries by replicating their work onto contact paper for display.

Square Numbers

During an extended introduction of "Groups Of" the students found a way of physically demonstrating square numbers.


Marilyn Burns. This was a highly popular activity using spinners with an area coverage of 25%, 25%, and 50%. Of approximately 16 trials the students did actually discover one data set that met the proportions exactly.


We used compasses to bisect a line and to find the center of a circle by constructing the perpendicular bisectors of two random chords.

Numeracy and Pattern

We used colored chips (representing x2, x3, x4, x5) on the hundred board. Much discussion followed this engaging activity.